Explore different neighborhoods of San Francisco and popular art institutions on these neighborhood art walks.

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September 19, 2019

Art Walks You Can't Miss in San Francisco

Each month, neighborhood galleries organize art walks for the public. Art walks are a great way to see San Francisco's different neighborhoods while learning about the different art institutions in the city. Stroll from gallery to gallery along these popular art walks in and around San Francisco.

San Francisco Art Dealers Association First Thursdays

The San Francisco Art Dealers Association (SFADA) represents and promotes some of the city’s best galleries and studios. SFADA has been serving the work of beginning, mid-career, and master artists since its founding in 1972. 

Since SFADA has so many connections, you probably can’t visit every gallery during its First Thursday Art Walks. You can, however, use the online map to plan your excursion. For example, you could choose to focus on participants in Union Square.

SFADA galleries near Union Square include:

  • K. Imperial Fine Art (49 Geary St., Suite 440), where you’ll discover paintings and sculptures from renowned artists working all over the world.
  • Hang Art (567 Sutter St., Floor 2), which exhibits some of the newest works from Bay Area artists.
  • Hashimoto Contemporary (804 Sutter St.), a gallery dedicated to spreading contemporary works that push boundaries.
  • Dolby Chadwick Gallery (210 Post St., #205), where you will find challenging art from emerging artists based all over the world.
  • Caldwell Snyder Gallery (341 Sutter St.), where you will find work by contemporary artists living in the U.S., South America, and Europe.
  • Robert Koch Gallery (49 Geary St., 5th Floor), which has been displaying photography to the public since 1979.
  • Fraenkel Gallery (49 Geary St., 4th Floor), a gallery that has formed connections with museums and collectors from around the world.

Not all SFADA galleries participate in the First Thursday Art Walk. If you’re looking for a specific exhibit, call the gallery to make sure you can visit during the walk.

First Thursdays Castro Art Walk

The Castro Art Walk makes it easy for travelers to see some of the best works of art displayed in the neighborhood.

The Castro Art Walk takes place every first Thursday of the month from 6 to 9 p.m. The organizers often schedule bands and other entertainers to perform at Jane Warner Plaza, located at the intersection of 17th and Castro streets. 

Most of the participants are located near the corner of Castro and 18th streets, but others are a short walk down Market St. or Dolores St.

The art walk also passes by plenty of restaurants and bars, so you can find refreshment at any point along your journey.

Some of the most impressive spaces that have taken part in recent Castro Art Walks include:

  • ART ATTACK SF (2358 Market St.), which focuses on showcasing the work of emerging artists in the Bay Area.
  • Ruby’s Clay Studio & Gallery (522A Noe St.), where you’ll find a variety of clay pieces made by local artists.
  • Spark Arts (4229 18th St.), a gallery that features the work of local artists.
  • The Arc San Francisco (518 Castro St.), a lifelong-learning center that works with people living with developmental disabilities.
  • The Artist’s Gallery (4406 18th St.), which focuses on selling artwork it considers affordable.
  • The GLBT History Museum (4127 18th St.), where you will find pieces by Castro residents as well as exhibits about GLBT history.

First Saturdays at Minnesota Street Project

The Minnesota Street Project (1150 25th St. and 1275 Minnesota St.) gives you an opportunity to experience 13 art galleries without venturing outdoors. Minnesota Street Project has a unique mission. It provides affordable galleries and workspaces for artists inside three warehouses.

Typically, the galleries maintain their own hours. On the first Saturday of the month, though, you can walk through two of the warehouses to see what all of the galleries have on display.

The warehouse at 1150 25th St. currently houses three spaces:

  • Adrian Rosenfeld Gallery, where you will find 2,000 square feet of space filled with modern and contemporary art from around the world.
  • Altman Siegel, a gallery that displays works by Bay Area and international artists with occasional historical exhibitions.
  • McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit that hosts three unique exhibitions per year.

The warehouse at 1275 Minnesota St. features significantly more galleries and studios, including:

  • Anglim Gilbert Gallery, which works with international collectors to spread Bay Area art throughout the world.
  • Jack Fisher Gallery, where you will find a collection with “outsider” art placed prominently among the works of “insider” artists.
  • The San Francisco Arts Education Project, which has focused on developing the talent of young artists and performers in San Francisco since 1968.

While visiting the Minnesota Street Project, you can find refreshment at the on-site restaurant, Besharahm, where chef Heena Patel combines elements from Indiana and Californian cuisines.

Divisadero Art Walk

Typically, Divisadero Art Walks take place on the second Thursday of March, June, September, and December. Visit the event's page on Facebook to learn about the next walk.

As the name suggests, participating vendors and performers have locations on Divisadero St.

Divisadero Art Walk takes a different approach than most gallery walks. Instead of focusing on established and emerging studios in a specific area, the event has a theme that informs what people contribute.

Since the Divisadero Art Walk always evolves, you can expect something fresh each time you visit.

North Beach First Fridays Art Crawl

North Beach First Fridays Art Crawl brings attention to galleries and studios in the North Beach neighborhood. The art crawl takes place from 6 to 9 p.m.

You can visit the event’s website to find each month’s participating spaces. Make sure you take time to see the art at:

  • Modern Eden Gallery (801 Greenwich St.), where you will find drawings, paintings, and sculptures from artists that love pushing the boundaries of contemporary art and design.
  • Telegraph Hill Gallery (491 Greenwich St.), a space that displays the work of artists at all stages of their careers.
  • Canessa Gallery (708 Montgomery St.), which has supported the city’s artists, writers, and performers for nearly half a century.

First Saturdays Do/Re/Mi

The Do/Re/Mi (Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and Mission) neighborhoods are where new artists are gaining attention. Some of the venues you should see include:

  • Themes+Projects (1275 Minnesota St., #205), a gallery that largely focuses on contemporary pop art.
  • Eleanor Hardwood Gallery (1275 Minnesota St., #206), an eclectic gallery for premiering and mid-career artists.
  • Brian Gross Fine Art (248 Utah St.), an international exhibition space that has been forming connections with artists since 1990.
  • Catharine Clark Gallery (248 Utah St.), where you’ll find contemporary art from various disciplines.

First Fridays Oakland Art Murmur Art Walk

Head to Oakland on the first Friday of each month for the Oakland Art Murmur Art Walk. Oakland Art Murmur connects visitors to established and emerging Bay Area artists. The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m.

Dozens of venues participate in Oakland Art Murmur, so you may want to use the online interactive map to plan your walk. The map lets you filter by topics like ceramics, drawing, sculpture, women artists, mixed media, and film.

Some of the most popular options include:

  • Creative Growth (355 24th St.), where you’ll find experimental forms like collage and abstract painting.
  • Part 2 Gallery (1523b Webster St.), which features a new exhibition every month.
  • Warehouse416 (416 262th St.), a family-owned gallery with local artists and vendors.
  • Rock Paper Scissors Collective (416 26th St.), a community arts and performance group with a pop-up space on 26th St.
  • Oakstop (1721 Broadway), where you’ll find pieces from painters, designers, illustrators, and digital artists.

First Tuesdays in Mill Valley

If you want an art walk in the middle of the week, head north to Mill Valley. The Mill Valley First Tuesday ArtWalk takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Participating galleries and stores get listed in the First Tuesday ArtWalk brochure.

Make sure you visit:

  • Kim Eagles-Smith Gallery (23 Sunnyside Ave.), where you’ll discover a variety of paintings, photographs, illustrations, and other types of art.
  • George Lawson Gallery (18 East Blithedale Ave., #12), which promotes international contemporary artists.

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